BERKELEY - A trio of California softball players collected medals this weekend following successful stints at two international softball tournaments. Rising senior Britt Vonk and the Dutch National Team claimed gold at the 2013 European Championship, and former Golden Bear All-Americans Lindsey Ziegenhirt and Valerie Arioto earned silver at the General Tire World Cup of Softball.
Vonk and her Dutch squad shut out Italy 3-0 in the European Championship finale Saturday in Prague for the team’s third consecutive European title. The Netherlands is now tied with Italy for most European Championship titles with nine total. With the win, the Dutch also secured a spot at the 2014 International Softball Federation’s (ISF) Women’s World Championships, to be held in Haarlem, Netherlands. Vonk was a regular starter in the Dutch lineup with several key performances, including reaching base four times in Friday’s semifinal game vs. Italy.
In Sunday’s championship game at the World Cup of Softball in Oklahoma City, Team USA staged a near-comeback after reigning ISF World Champion Japan jumped out to an early 5-0 lead, but could not overcome the deficit and lost 6-3. Arioto led the last inning heroics with a two-out double to score Michigan’s Amanda Chidester before the game ended on a final out. She finished 1-for-3 with an RBI and a walk. Ziegenhirt once again played at catcher, going 0-for-2 in the lineup.
Earlier in the day, Ziegenhirt helped seal Team USA’s championship game berth in a 10-3 win over Puerto Rico after the U.S. rebounded from an early 3-0 deficit. Stepping in to bat in the bottom of the fifth inning, Ziegenhirt singled and advanced on the throw, giving Oklahoma’s Destinee Martinez leeway to reach third. On the following play, Martinez scored the final run needed to run-rule Puerto Rico via a single by Tennessee’s Raven Chavanne. Arioto was also instrumental in the win, pitching 3.2 innings and allowing just one hit and one walk while fanning five batters.
Arioto is batting 5-for-10(.500) through four games with two doubles, one run, four RBI and three walks. Ziegenhirt is 1-for-6 (.167) in four games with one run and a walk.
The U.S. National Team heads to Surrey, B.C., Canada next for the Canadian Open Fast Pitch International Championship from July 16-22.